Friday, January 18, 2008

Process Improvement Fact Finding

The Diagram below shows three types of problems most frequently encountered in a normal workday. There is always a balance in fact finding and it also takes a great deal of common sense.

For example if I get in a car accident and my arm is barely attached do not conduct a Root Cause Analysis. Get me to a hospital and when it is timely conduct your process investigation. Far fetched? Not really, I've seen many a problem be held up while Management tries to find fault with a person instead of themselves when problems develop.

Click on PIC to Enlarge:

Developed by qualityg

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Employees Goals and Objectives 2008 - Concerned But Not Surprised

When I first wrote my post "Employee Goals & Objectives for 2008" at I was wondering if it would get any hits. It has long been my belief that when it comes to this annual task many workers have no idea on where to start or what to write.

The amounts of hits I get daily (aprox 10) since I first posted it last October is alarming. This is just not an American problem since many also come from around the world, especially India, Australia and the United Kingdom.

What did surprise me was the amount of hits I got on qualityg's Company Strategies for 2008 and Beyond at and

qualityg's Company Principles for 2008 and Beyond at

Perhaps we could some this up as that Management knows very much on how to create Strategies and Principals but workers have no idea on what those goals and strategies are and worse yet they have not been taught on how to write them nor on how to accomplish them.

C’mon Management do your jobs.

To read all my posts on employee objectives and goals click on the label below or the label on the side of the blog.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Autism 2008 - Are You Qualified to be an Educator? Then Who Is?

As I begin my fourth year studying, researching and continual application working with autistic students from ages 6 – 24 I wonder why is it necessary for one to have an advanced degree or undergrad with a special endorsement to teach autistic children.

I’ve looked at over 20 university programs throughout the United States and they all have the basic requirements with the objective/goal to teach educators how to communicate better with autistic spectrum disorder students.

It’s just not about communication; many universities are trying to figure out best how to train teachers to educate autistic students.

The point that I don’t understand is Universities “are trying” to spread information and understanding about autism but who at the Universities are doing the teaching?

Let me explain, we have an abundance of autistic children being currently mainstreamed (K-12) as well as many more entering and waiting to gain access to elementary programs in contained rooms or other facilities identified by school districts. This trend will continue to grow much faster than one can get a graduate degree or endorsement in autism.

How do Special Education teachers who do not teach in a mainstreamed class who get endorsement help the general education teacher instruct and manage and autistic student in their class.

Who are the experts that will be instructing these classes at our universities? What are their qualifications? In my opinion the best teachers and most experienced people working and teaching with autistic children are Parents and One on One aides or paraprofessionals. Now let us ask a question, how many of these people have degrees in education, let alone special education? Not many because if they did they would be making more money as a teacher than a so-called babysitter in a classroom.

Perhaps we should ask teachers who have aides or Para pros in their classroom if they are qualified? The ones I know and many of those I don’t all say they would be in trouble if there were not an aide working with the children.

Does this mean the aides are just babysitters or do they “really” teach and educate the child based on their understanding, experience, and identification of the triggers and solutions required to keep an autistic child in the classroom

It is commonly known that each autistic student is different and needs different techniques to function continuously in a day-to-day setting of the general education classroom.

Within many school districts teachers are already dealing with over crowded classrooms and “other” needs children from the special education department.

Without knowing the cause how will we keep up with the education of the autistic student when it takes and advanced degree or special endorsement certificates with a degree to be ‘qualified” to teach autistic children.

Like everything else we tend to categorize a situation and deal with it in some sub standard standardized way when we approach education. This WILL NOT work with autistic students.

Has anyone done a correlation study that compares the number of autistic children that are already in schools and those who will be attending schools to see if there are enough “highly qualified” special endorsed teachers to handle the load. Of course not, in order to do that we would need the assistance of uneducated parents and babysitting aides (as labeled by many educated and highly skilled academics that have no experience in autism) to even make a dent in the caseload that is upon us.

It’s always about money and prestige. Will let me tell you that money or being a college graduate does not equal knowledge/intelligence. If we put such lengthy requirements and high costs to obtain these qualifications then we have already lost.

Data + Information + Application = Knowledge

Knowledge + Listening and Observation = Wisdom

Educating our autistic children requires the people who make these types of standards and qualifications to open their minds to what is really needed. Seek out the parents and aides and para pros that have been working with autistic students for years and develop a professional program that allow them to teach and work with college students (not just guest speakers) and already established general education teachers.

When researchers or college internships or practicums take place the educated person deemed so by college years seeks out the most knowledgeable person available for help and to gain an understanding within the work setting. If they know best they seek out the worker, the one in the front lines, the ones who earned their stripes by being in the war. Universities must create an avenue to tap into the knowledgeable resources already available (conduct on-site observations, meetings, tests, behavior logs, etc) and give them the credentials to be recognized and heard.
College Administrators - please don't let the Academic bureaucracy stagnate this effort. If you believe what is best then do what is best and not just the standard quo.

We don’t need more super college trained teachers (that takes years) to fight this battle we also need to people on the front line who don’t have the time or resources to go to college for years before they can be labeled to do the work they have already been doing for sometime.

It’s not just the colleges it is also the Special Education Departments that will not recognize the importance of the talent they already have under their noses.

When will we wake up to the fact that we have lost sight of knowledge and wisdom? It does not come guaranteed and wrapped in a college diploma. Time and dollars do not equal knowledge or wisdom.

Our society only recognizes college-trained people as experts that can only know how to work and what is best for others. If this were true then companies would not be sub contracting or opening plants in foreign countries with uneducated workers who work for peanuts.

Wise up to this problem, it may already be too late.

NOTE: - please don’t accuse me of being lazy and not wanting to obtain a degree, I have three degrees and finished a fourth (decided not to do practicum for early childhood). I also have over 10 professional certifications in business and education.

In addition I also have been a part-time college instructor.

To read my other posts on autism please click on the ASD Label below this post to bring up all the posts – Thank You.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The band, Five for Fighting, donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks


This was sent to me by my friend JB:

The band, Five for Fighting, is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks for *each time* this video is viewed.
The funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure for autism. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your loved ones.

They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.

Please click and watch this video,

Thank You,


To read my other posts on Autism please click on the ASD Label below.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Call Center Measurements

Basic Call Center Quality Measures

For a number of years I worked on Process Improvements for Call Centers. I received an Email last week asking me about quality measures in a Call Center -- Below is my response ...

In order to set up basic call center meausre you first begin identifying measurement criteria for call centers that will assist in providing process measures for operational improvements. Due to the lack of/understanding of process measures and insufficient sharing of results between departments, downstream operational problems are not quantified and communicated to adequately drive improvement upstream in our processes.

Measurement criteria if not already established, should evaluate the performance of the call center (provisioning/repair) operations in the following key areas:

- Process Resources (cost effectiveness) - The process resources criterion is
concerned with measuring the cost of the resources consumed by the call center to
produce company established objectives and outputs.

An example would be the direct cost per call.

- Process Efficiency - The process efficiency criterion is concerned with measuring how efficiently calls are answered in the call center.

A typical example would be the number of calls answered within 20 seconds.

- Customer Preference - Customer preference is concerned with measuring those criterion that tell us how well our customers perceive the quality of service they are receiving by the call centers. Operationally excellent organizations focus on delivering service to our customers at competitive prices with minimal disruptions.

For example, a measure would be a representative’s professionalism, listening skills, and tone of voice during the call.

- Process Quality - Process quality criterion is concerned with measuring how well the representative follows the standard installation/repair call flow as well as procedures for billing, credit and adjustments. Process quality measures are more difficult to measure than the others mentioned, but by setting up measures to evaluate the effectiveness of training and new procedures implemented will identify many root causes that otherwise go undetected or produce outcomes that result in many hours of fixes and additional resources being thrown at the problem(s).

An example of this type is the adherence to the company credit policy for establishing new service or setting up a billing/payment arrangement.

- Sales/Marketing Effectiveness - The sales/marketing effectiveness criterion are concerned with measuring the effectiveness of sales/marketing conducted in the call centers. These efforts evaluate the success of a marketing campaign, or rate the effectiveness of the product/services that the company offers the customer.

Process Performance Interrelationships

It should be emphasized that process performance measurements are interrelated. Changes made to affect the performance in one area will normally affect the performance in another area. For example, if improvements are made in process efficiency (ie; average talk time), it is likely that process resources (ie, cost per call) will change. The following diagram further explains process performance interrelationships and the importance of understanding “Systems Thinking.”

Process Resources Measures

Key measures consumed by call centers for process resources include:

- Direct Cost Per Handling Minute - this measures the cost of talk time plus wrap time for service reps and any type of automated voice response unit (if applicable).
- Other (ie; depreciation, training, systems, recruiting, and facilities)

Direct costs refers to the labor costs incurred by the Customer provisioning/repair representatives. Direct cost is concerned with cash outlays for salaries, wages, benefits, supplies, and material, telecommunication costs to run a call center. Total Costs equals direct cost plus other costs.

Process Efficiency Measures

Key measures consumed by call centers for process efficiency include:

- % of calls abandoned
- Average time in Que
- Average speed of answer
- Handling minutes per representative per 8-hour day
- Required Hours as a % of total hours available - total handling time (min) necessary to process all incoming calls (including abandoned calls) during the time period
- % of calls answered in 20 seconds (ie; corporate objective)
- Call minutes per representative in 8-hour day
- Average call processing time
- Average wrap time

Process Quality Measures

Key quality output measures for call centers (provisioning/repair) include:

- Error/defect rate (ie; service orders, billing)
- Number of disconnects
- Number of due date changes
- Number/Percent of misdirected calls
- Number/Percent repeat calls
- Quality of Dispatch In
- Quality of Dispatch Out
- Number/Percent of double dispatch occurrences

The quality of call center output measures can have a significant impact on the performance and cost of upstream and downstream sub processes or processes. Most often the call center is the recipient (internal customer) of other departments errors/defects (internal suppliers) like sales, marketing, training, MIS or methods and procedures. This should be considered when any of the process departments involved make changes and/or improvements to call center operations.

Sales/Marketing Effectiveness Measures

Sales/Marketing effectiveness measures for call centers include:

- Number of sales resulting from a new marketing campaign
- Number of sales resulting from a new product/service